New York (WABC)—— New York City Mayor Eric Adams told a community meeting on the Upper West Side Wednesday night that the ongoing immigration crisis “will destroy New York City.”
With 110,000 asylum seekers passing through New York City since April 2022, the problem is creating a $12 billion budget deficit, Adams said.
“Let me tell you, New Yorkers, I’ve never in my entire life had a problem that didn’t have an end, and I don’t see an end to this,” Adams said. “This problem is going to destroy New York City.”
Adams said asylum seekers were once from Venezuela, but now they are from Ecuador, Russian speakers and immigrants from West Africa are also coming from Mexico.
New York City has become the epicenter of the crisis, even as other cities have seen rising numbers of immigrants.
“We’re about to lose this city we know, but we’re all in this together,” Adams said. “Staten Island says send them to Manhattan, Manhattan says send them to Queens, Queens says send them to Brooklyn.”
Adams publicly called on Gov. Kathy Hochul and President Joe Biden to help with the current crisis.
At the heart of Adams’ request is expedited work authorization so that people already in New York City can get legal work without being forced to rely on the social safety net.
But the process for applying for asylum and work permits is based on current immigration law, which requires a 150-day waiting period for applying for a work permit and an additional 30-day waiting period to be eligible for approval — and in recent years, it has required more This is difficult, mostly due to the large backlog.
The Legal Aid Society and the Homeless Coalition called the mayor’s “dystopian rhetoric” Wednesday night a “reckless and futile fear-mongering.”
“Mayor Adams’ remarks that an influx of new immigrants ‘will destroy New York City’ are reckless and futile fear-mongering,” the groups said in a joint statement. Becoming dehumanized and vicious, the unimaginable circumstances of them fleeing their home country just to have a chance to feed their families and secure a better life. This dangerous rhetoric is as much as you can imagine from a politician on the fringes of the far right. The political spectrum , not a mayor from a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and vital immigrant community.”
Many other cities, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles, are struggling with incoming travellers.
CNN contributed to this report.
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